Thoughts on a winter day

Commentary by Jeff Burgar

We always check the weather forecast on our websites. Depending where you might be and what website you frequent, a current weather report comes from stations either in Peace River or Slave Lake.

If you look under the Environment Canada Forecast, you will see Alberta Road Reports. The layout of this changes, but if you log in you can set up your choice of road cameras. Then you can sort of see what the road looks like where you might be travelling. The cameras are all over Alberta but there are a few here in the north. There are some other quite cool features too.

For some reason, the weather forecast on our own home page has a 10-day forecast. But inside on Environment Canada, they only forecast seven days ahead. A weird thing is, the temperature forecasts do not match! They sort of track along together. But not quite. Figuring out why is not on our Top Ten list of to-do’s. But we will get to it. Always seems like something gets in the way.

Along the same lines, we commented in the office how one of our college student part-time workers seems to have trouble getting to work. Heavier course load this semester. Which means too much time has to go to studying. Then it’s -35 below and the heat isn’t working. Then last week, she woke up at 2 a.m. to find water all over the floor. Pipe leak in the apartment.

Our thinking? “Welcome to the real world kid. If it isn’t one dang thing, it’s another.” There are other comments, but you should get the drift.

But, it’s always good news when we look at the weather forecast and see above zero temperatures. There are a few reasons we like this.

First of course, it is a lot easier to enjoy winter when the sun is shining, the wind is light, and the thermometer hovers around zero or higher. We love the seasons. But it is hard to love -40. Except when throwing a bucket of hot water in the air and taking pictures through the ice to the sun. Or when we climb into ski pants, Arctic boots, parka and mitts, then pull down the hood over a toque. Then, while the dog hides inside, sit on the deck for maybe ten minutes and we enjoy a hot beverage. Or start a fire but sit way back in case a flying ember melts our suit.

Back to the tropical weather we are getting, and is forecasted to last a couple more days. We call it tropical because, after cold snaps and actually, about six weeks of serious winter, we are used to the cold. Our blood has thinned. We are, as they say, acclimatized. So zero or warmer is practically t-shirt and shorts weather. Try it and let us know what you think. And then you might understand how those polar bear club folks can go dipping in ice water. Or even run out of the sauna or hot tub into a snow drift.

But best of all is the fact that we are enjoying the weather. And have saved a couple thousand or much, much more, not heading to Cuba or Mexico!

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